Recently, I attended the inspirational Art of Marketing Conference, which I suppose is not the biggest surprise as the deemed Marketing Maven of Intranet Connections. But what was a surprise was how applicable these speakers, lessons and best practices resonated for intranets as well. After all your intranet is an internal website, which is rich with features, tools and functionality well beyond the means of a public website, for your employees.
Given this, I’d like to share a few lessons I took from the conference that I’ll be using not only for our marketing practices, but on our intranet as well:
Dr. Robert Cialdini was the first speaker to kick-off this outstanding event and he did a fantastic job exciting the masses with this theory on the 6 social influences that guide persuasion, based on his best-selling book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. I’m sure many of you have already devoured this popular business and know these social influences are not revolutionary, in fact reviewing most social influences you think to yourself: “Of course, why didn’t I think of this before?”.
So how can you use social influence on your intranet you ask? Well, many intranet admins want a silver bullet, to increase engagement, foster intranet evangelists and influence more employees to be regular contributors to the intranet. While I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “silver bullet”, nor does Dr. Cialdini, these social influences could be considered potentially a “bronze bullet”.
There are a few more social influences Dr. Cialdini covers in the Influence: The Psychology of Persausion, but I don’t want to spoil the entire book for you. I’ll leave you with a few to discover yourself.
Nir Eyal, the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products, perhaps delivered an even more applicable message to intranet administrators. After all, every intranet admin’s goal is to get their users/employees hooked on the intranet.
Eyal describes a habit as “an impulse having little or no conscious thought”. Some current examples of products that have “hooked” users globally are FaceBook, YouTube, Instagram and Netflix. Users aimlessly access these products when an internal or external trigger is experienced. For example, an internal trigger may be the following routine:
Alternately, an external trigger may be:
At this point, you are thinking – geesh, this gal sure wastes a lot of time online. I may, but I like to consider it all in the name of “market research”. However, the takeaway here is not my internet habits, it’s that successful, habit forming products build in innate triggers to keep users coming back for more.
To get users “hooked” on your intranet, you need to be able to answer/solve these five questions:
Obviously, as software developers and product managers, these are questions we ask ourselves with each new release of Intranet Connections. However, the beauty of an intranet is that every organization can take our software to make it their own – each customer creating their own hooks that are tailored to the needs of their employees and their organization. Therefore, just as we ask ourselves how can we increase our “hooked” factor in our product, you also must ask internally in utilizing your intranet…how can we get more users/employees “hooked” on the intranet?
Obviously, there were many more engaging speakers and outstanding books presented at the Art of Marketing this year, but I hadn’t enough time to cover them all. I will say if you are looking for a few more books to read from engaging speakers and authors, I can highly recommend authored books by Chip & Dan Heath. Many of you have likely already discovered these New York Times best-sellers authors, but there are incredible insights to be taken from their work so I had to mention them.
Another book very applicable to creating communities and loyalty, which can easily be translated to your intranet, is Monster Loyalty by Jackie Huba. I can genuinely say I was surprised to like this one, but Huba certainly knows how to entertain, just like the subject of her book, Lady Gaga.
Have you read some other business/psychology/marketing books that you have used to improve your intranet? We’d love to hear about them.